Homemade broth is excellent for speeding healing and recuperating from illness. There’s truth to the old saying that chicken soup will help cure a cold. Chicken contains a natural amino acid called cysteine, which can thin the mucus in your lungs and make it less sticky so you can expel it more easily. Like most foods, excessive processing and the additive of fake flavours, colours or preservatives destroys these vital health benefits so you won’t get any of these health benefits in canned soup. Other amino acids in bone broth include glycine, proline and arginine – all of which have anti-inflammatory properties.
Stock contains many minerals extracted from the bones, in a form that the body can absorb easily – including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, and sulfur. It also contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons – sounds gross, but stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine – which we athletes often take as expensive supplements for joint pain. These minerals also play an important role in healthy bone formation.
Our overall health is largely dependent on the health of our digestive and intestinal tracts, especially as we age and intestinal function declines. Optimal digestion means we can effectively absorb and utilize the many minerals noted above, all essential to bone and muscle health. Many of our modern diseases are linked to imbalances in our gut flora, courtesy of the overuse of antibiotics, poor diet and lifestyle habits. The natural gelatin in bone broth heals and seals the gut lining. This gelatin also helps foster healthy hair and nails. Making your own broth is super easy.
Using the leftover carcass of organic chicken or beef, simply boil for 3 hours or more with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to help extract the nutrient components from the bones. Add chopped onions, celery, carrots and your choice of spices. Create a hearty soup with beautiful chunks of vegetables and your choice of whole grains, drink the broth on its own or add to your post-workout smoothies, or freeze it for future use. Remember not to discard the “skin” that forms on the top, as it contains many of most valuable nutrients.
By Yvette Styner, CHN
Certified Holistic Nutritionist